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Bach Choir of Bethlehem Spring Concert

State Theatre, Easton
Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Bach Choir is making history by performing at the historic State Theatre Center for the Arts for very first time.


As part of his 35th season, Greg Funfgeld directs two festive master-works for choir and brass by William Walton and John Rutter, combined with J.S. Bach’s Cantata 118 O Jesu Christ, mein Lebens Licht (O Jesus Christ, light of my  life), and Morten Lauridsen’s earliest choral cycle, the Mid-Winter Songs on poetry by Robert Graves.

  • Fans of “The Crown” will especially enjoy Walton’s ebullient Coronation Te Deum, which was composed for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953, and features lush double-choir writing and infectious rhythm. 
  • John Rutter’s joyful Gloria, composed 20 years later, contains fanfares aplenty and a rhapsodically lyrical middle movement.
  • Lauridsen’s setting of the Robert Graves poetry charts the wayward romantic fortunes of the poet in a stunningly evocative composition, with the crystal clarity and shimmering text painting of its virtuosic music for choir and piano.  
  • Bach’s Cantata 118 O Jesu Christ, mein Lebens Licht, is one of the last choral works composed by Bach, performed here in the version for a Leipzig funeral procession, a mesmerizing blend of voices and brass. 


The women managing these historic and formidable Lehigh Valley arts organizations are gratified and excited to bring them together for this performance. “In this season of musical milestones for the Choir, we are particularly excited to present our Spring Celebration of the Choral Art in the beautiful and historic State Theatre. Two Lehigh Valley arts communities, both with significant histories, coming together to present this to the community – it’s going to be a breathtaking evening,” says Bridget George, executive director of The Bach Choir of Bethlehem. “The Bach Choir and the State Theatre are two iconic organizations, and combining them will make for an extraordinary event”, comments State Theatre President & CEO Shelley Brown.  “We are so excited to present the Choir’s exquisite music. It will be an event to remember.”

Artistic director and conductor Greg Funfgeld is enthusiastic about this glorious program. “I’m very excited about this combination of pieces, their power and beauty, and the rich variety they represent.  There is truly something for everyone!  The Walton and Rutter pieces are incredibly festive and will remind listeners of lots of the music they love – from Gregorian chant in the Rutter, to the Pomp and Circumstance marches of Sir Edward Elgar, to film soundtracks including “Star Wars” by John Williams (composed just three years after the Rutter Gloria), and Danny Elfman’s “Batman” score, reminiscent of Walton. It’s a banquet of musical styles and ideas. These works are written for large brass bands – four trumpets, four French horns, three trombones, tuba, and a battery of percussion instruments.  The combined sound is thrilling, unforgettable and spine-tingling.  The Bach Cantata is one of the most touching pieces, written for a funeral procession from the Church to the cemetery – music of peaceful repose and quiet faith – it’s gorgeous.  Morten Lauridsen is one of the most sought-after and highly respected composers of our time.  His exquisite and highly evocative setting of the poetry of Robert Graves is a masterwork of the choral literature.  From painting incredible pictures to interpreting the insightful and penetrating poetry of Graves (also author of “I, Claudius” and “Goodbye to All That”).  The writing for piano and for The Choir is virtuosic – the entire program is a tour-de-force for all involved.  We are eager to share these musical offerings with our friends at The State Theatre.”

Saturday, March 17, 2018 7:30pm

State Theatre Center for the Performing Arts

Easton, PA

Adults: $42 Orchestra/$39 balcony   Students: $15 Group Discounts available.

For tickets and information, please call State Theatre Box Office at 610-252-3132 or 800-999-7828 or go online at statetheatre.org.

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